In his letter to Titus, the apostle Paul called the overseer “God’s administrator” or “God’s steward” (Titus 1:7). Ministry leaders are stewards, not owners, as Jesus owns His church. Jesus promised to build His church, not ours (Matt. 16:18). The financial resources the Lord blesses a church with are ultimately for Him. The ministry leader, as a faithful steward, is responsible to ensure the resources are managed faithfully. The ministry leader must not be a lover of money (1 Tim. 3:3) but one who is generous because Christ has been generous to us.
As resources are generously given to the church, ministry leaders are responsible to ensure they are leveraged to advance the mission the Lord has given His people. Here are three ways ministry leaders must live as stewards:
1. Give generously.
Ministry leaders should set the pace in living within one’s means and in being generous. Without generosity, ministry leaders lack the moral integrity to challenge people to be generous. A challenging question: If your church were as generous as you are, how generous would your church be?
2. Budget and spend strategically.
Your budget and your spending are a clear indication of your strategy. What you value as a ministry, you resource. Jack Welch once commented, “Strategy is simply resource allocation.” Your budget should be a reflection of your stated strategy. If the two are not in harmony, your budget wins and your strategy is a nebulous statement with no traction. Align your budget and spending to your strategy and priorities.
3. Embrace and teach stewardship as part of discipleship.
Ministry leaders are bombarded with advice on “raising capital,” “developing donors” and “cultivating generosity.” If the apostle Paul were at the table hearing church leaders bemoan the lack of giving in their churches, he would probably say, “The people must have forgotten the gospel or not truly embraced it.” Paul emphasized the gospel in his appeal for believers to be generous in giving (2 Cor. 8:7–9). Though He was rich, Christ became poor so we could be blessed with the riches of knowing Him. And Christ’s generosity should motivate believers to be generous givers. Understand that stewardship is part of discipleship, and continually remind people of God’s grace as you challenge them to give.